Kitchen Knife Review

Top 5 Kitchen Knife Tips

Chances are that a good few people will be on the lucky end of some new kitchen knives this Christmas, and as a result they will be quickly unboxing them and perhaps even putting them to good use when it comes to carving up a bit of turkey on the big day.

However, for those people who have not used or owned good quality kitchen knives before, a few basic maintenance tips tend to slip through the gaps in the excitement. Good quality knife sets come with pretty good instructions as to how to maintain your implements, but I thought it would be worth spending a bit of time here underlining the top 5 kitchen knife maintenance tips.

1. Don’t be lazy - avoid the dishwasher

Putting your brand new, top quality kitchen knives in the dishwasher is almost a cardinal sin. Whilst perhaps the build quality of knives has improved since the dawn of dishwashers, in my eyes no good can come of it. By doing so, you put the blades and handles in excessively hot water for no real reason, and the more stubborn - dried on food stuffs are unlikely to come off cleanly.

Also, the salts and other chemicals in the dishwasher tablets will actually stain the blades of your knives, leaving them in sub optimal condition.

If I need to say anymore to convince you not to do this, then I’d say that your kitchen knives deserve better treatment than this. They are probably the most expensive utility in your kitchen, so make sure they continue to do their job by looking after them!

2. Sharpen little but sharpen often

This is one of those tips that frequently slip people by because they think they should stand around like celebrity chefs sharpening their kitchen knives against steels for hours at a time. You should only really be sharpening you knives for a few seconds at a time - such as just before you are about to prepare a meal.

Excessive sharpening leads to the steel getting worn down more quickly than it should, and chances are you do not get the perfect angle so the process actually blunts the knife instead of sharpening it.

3. Proper storage is key

If, like me, you got a set of three or four kitchen knives in a packet, and nothing to store them in, you must make it a priority to go out and get something suitable to leave the knives in.

Do not be tempted to leave them in a drawer with other implements - or even just on their own. The opening and closing of the drawer will lead to the blades clanging against other utensils which has a dulling affect on the blades.

Instead, invest a little money in a good knife block or magnetic rack (I prefer a wooden block myself) - you don’t have to spend much, just get something to protect your new knives.

4. Use the right tool for the job

One of the luxuries of owning a few different styles of kitchen knife is that you can choose the right tool for the job, and you don’t have to try and dice a garlic with a meat cleaver and you don’t have to cut through a chicken bone with a vegetable peeler.

If you are outright cutting and chopping (as opposed to slicing or barelling), you can use a general rule that what you’re cutting should scale with the size of the knife you are using. Obviously you can be dicing up something very small with a big knife, but do not try and julien carrots with a large chef’s knife. The margin for error is too great, and given how sharp these things can be, it is ultimately not going to end well for you.

5. Keep them stowed away

This ties into point 1, 2 and 3 above. If you have just washed up your knives, or finished using them as you are about to eat, make sure they are all accounted for and in a safe place. Obviously you do not have to wash them up straight away, but it is worth making sure they are all in one place and out of harms way.

You can often end up with razor sharp paring knives tucked under some potato peelings, or a chef’s knife hanging perilously close to the edge of a worktop. The few moments it takes to gather the knives together is well worth it, and will ensure you avoid any potential mishaps.

So there we have it, my top 5 kitchen knife tips. If you are lucky enough to get a brand spanking new set of knives this Christmas - do take care with them, but above all else, happy cooking and bon appetit!